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Facebook's redesigned News Feed: Hands-on first impressions

We try out the social network's new look
Fri Mar 08 2013, 12:47

SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook announced a redesigned News Feed on Thursday, a new look that it hopes will make using the website easier and less cluttered than before.

The changes to Facebook's News Feed strike you as soon as you jump onboard the revamped service, as the social network boasts a completely different look and feel. However, unlike with previous tweaks the social network made to its website, we weren't immediately boggled by the changes, probably because things have been reworked to tie in with Facebook's mobile features.

Facebook new News Feed

If you're a keen Facebook users who is already familiar with the website's Android and iOS applications, you should feel right at home with the redesigned News Feed too.

In terms of design, Facebook's News Feed is now split into three columns - a dark coloured navigation panel on the left hand side the same as you'll find on iOS and Android, adverts and customisation tools on the right and, of course, the main News Feed slap bang in the middle.

Let's start with the navigation panel on the right, which also now displays your online friends. We found this quite confusing at first as this previously was found on the right hand side, but we soon got used to the change. Chat boxes still pop up on the right hand side of the screen, the same as on previous versions.

In terms of navigation options, the grey sidebar offers one-click access to all of Facebook's main features such as Messages, Events and your frequently used apps, in our case Spotify and Scrabble - with Facebook saying it's goal is to make it easier to move around the website. We found this all pretty straightforward - after a minute of sheer panic when we first upgraded to the redesign - and we can't see frequent users being too put off.

On the right hand side, you're greeted with a drop down menu which lets you choose what you see in the News Feed. Options include All Friends, Following, Music and Games, or you can just tap News Feed at the top, which will display a mix of all these.

Facebook News Feed options

This was simple enough to execute, although we can't see ourselves using it all that much. All Friends, for example, will bring up Status Updates from people you've hidden from News Feed in the past - people you have probably hidden for good reason.

So, what about the actual News Feed? While we're not usually overjoyed at Facebook's frequent design tweaks and changes, we really like what it has done with News Feed this time around.

Big images now dominate the middle column, which does make the whole Facebook experience feel more engaging and visually pleasing. Things your friends have liked and shared look much better now too, making us much more likely to click on the links, although we're not too sure about the white space surrounding most things that pop up in our news feed (see below).

Facebook's news feed liked post

These changes are likely to benefit businesses too, with users more likely to click on links and engage with content.

Overall, Facebook hasn't disappointed. It has given News Feed a much needed lick of paint, and while there are still tweaks to be made, we found it very easy to use and more visually pleasing than previous versions.

Facebook will roll out its redesigned News Feed to all users within the next few months. µ


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